Next Highline Public Schools bond measure: Superintendent’s open letter

December 19th, 2014 at 11:20 am Posted in Education, Highline School District, White Center news | No Comments »

Received from Highline Public Schools, on behalf of Superintendent Susan Enfield:

As the Superintendent of Highline Public Schools and a resident of the Highline community, I feel compelled to write this open letter. I am grateful to those of you who supported our bond measure last month, which fell just short of the 60% supermajority needed for passage. For those of you who opposed the bond, I also appreciate that you took the time and effort to engage in the democratic process and express your views.

On December 17, the School Board approved placing another bond proposal on the February 10, 2015 ballot. We are taking this step because in order to best educate our children, we must replace aging buildings and relieve the crowding in our schools. The proposal includes some savings gained from, among other things, eliminating the need for middle school interim sites, thus ensuring that our middle school students will not have two transitions during their middle school years.

As we move forward we will engage in a community-wide conversation about this bond proposal, including multiple opportunities at schools and in the community to hear your concerns and answer your questions. During the last election there were significant inaccuracies and misstatements shared by those in opposition to the bond, and I welcome the opportunity to correct those errors.

I extend an invitation to all community members to engage in a conversation with me, Highline Public Schools Board members, and staff about how we will provide safe, up-to-date schools for our students and staff. We will be inviting those who opposed the bond in November to participate in these meetings so that we can have an open, public dialogue on these issues. Our first meeting will be in early January and we will post all the information on our website at Highlineschools.org.

I especially want to invite those who opposed the bond to participate in these public conversations so that we may hear and respond to your concerns. I strongly believe that we as adults must model for our children and young people what it means to be informed, engaged citizens and how to participate in the democratic process responsibly and respectfully.

Together we will build a better, stronger, Highline Public Schools—and deliver on our promise of knowing every student by name, strength and need.

Susan Enfield

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White Center Crime Watch: Stolen car pulled over in Greenbridge, suspects bolt

December 16th, 2014 at 9:04 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | No Comments »

If you, like the tipster who shared that photo, wondered what was going on around 2:30 am in the heart of Greenbridge – King County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Houck has replied to our inquiry. He says it involved a stolen car: “At around 2 am or so a Deputy turned around to stop a vehicle that had been driving toward him, for an equipment violation. As he was doing this, 4 unknown race/ sex / age people jumped out and ran in all directions.” The ensuing search, including a K-9 team, didn’t find any of the suspects.

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Video: Seattle Council approves ‘placeholder’ resolution regarding White Center (and vicinity) annexation

December 15th, 2014 at 2:04 pm Posted in Annexation, White Center news | No Comments »

(ADDED: Full Seattle Channel video of this afternoon’s meeting)

2:04 PM: Just before its morning meeting wrapped up today, Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess described the annexation resolution to be discussed this afternoon as a “placeholder” – to keep the state’s tax-credit support from expiring – not necessarily a declaration that they intend to carry it through. The afternoon meeting has just begun; it is starting with council discussion of other matters and then public comment – you can watch live online here.

2:13 PM: First up in the public-comment period is Amanda Kay Helmick from the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council (who also is running for Seattle City Council, though she is speaking in her role as WWRHAH chair rather than as a candidate). She is talking about her work on an updated neighborhood plan for the area and why annexation would make sense so that the planning does not address, for example, one side of Roxbury and not the other. The speaker after her, who said he lives in Burien, opposed annexation, saying Seattle can’t be trusted.

2:31 PM: Lost our connection to the stream but the last speaker was Barbara Dobkin, president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, which has historically supported annexation by Burien – you’ll recall that Seattle stepped aside to allow Burien to have an annexation election in 2012, but a majority of those who voted rejected the proposal, and after some leadership changes, Burien has so far declined to resume pursuing it. (We’ll be adding video of the hearing as soon as Seattle Channel turns it around.)

2:39 PM: The resolution is up now. Councilmember Burgess again describes it as a “placeholder” and talks about many issues that would have to be resolved before Seattle would wholeheartedly approve it – including financial help via a better state tax credit. He also notes that it’s not clear there’s majority support in the potential annexation area for joining Seattle. “There are multiple offramps on this road going forward,” he elaborates. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the only West Seattle resident on the council, says he supports “keeping the option open.” Councilmember Kshama Sawant says she thinks it’s reasonable for the city and county to ask the state to cover the extra cost of services if the area was annexed, but she says, ultimately the area consists of “human beings” with needs they deserve to have filled.

2:45 PM: Burgess clarifies that the annexation proposal would not change the school-district boundaries – this area, if Seattle annexed it, would remain part of Highline Public Schools. And shortly after that, the annexation resolution passed 8-0. Its text says that even if pursued avidly, an election wouldn’t be possible until 2016. We’ll keep close watch on the process as – if – it goes.

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Followup: Seattle Council considers annexation proposal Monday afternoon

December 13th, 2014 at 3:10 am Posted in Annexation, White Center news | 5 Comments »

As first reported here a week ago, a proposal to annex White Center and vicinity has suddenly surfaced before the Seattle City Council. This Monday (December 15), they’ll vote on whether to take the first step toward calling for residents of the potential annexation area to vote on the idea. One big caveat, though: As pointed out in the council memo, the main reason this has jumped to the forefront is that Seattle leaders want to make sure the annexation tax credit doesn’t expire – since they plan to ask for even more incentive, because of how much it’ll cost the city to provide services to the area, among other costs. So the resolution that’ll be considered Monday says this is NOT a commitment that they’ll pursue the process to the end:

… the City and King County intend to request additional financial assistance from the state to bridge the financial gap between revenues and the spending needed to serve the North Highline Annexation Area. Although this resolution initiates an annexation election, the City will continue to evaluate the advisability of such annexation pending the state’s decision regarding increased financial assistance.

The council meeting starts at 2 pm in Seattle City Council chambers at City Hall downtown, and traditionally begins with a public-comment period.

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Video: This month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

December 11th, 2014 at 9:20 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, Lakewood Park, White Center news | 1 Comment »

One week ago tonight, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council heard from King County Sheriff John Urquhart. Above, you can watch our video of his almost-40-minute appearance. His topics included staffing – hopes of increasing it in unincorporated North Highline, for example – and working on diversity. “I have a white male police department right now,” he declared. “I cannot have a successful police department unless I mirror the community … but it’s difficult, it’s difficult recruitment.” Among other things, he talked about changing county policies so that candidates who speak a second language, for example, get more civil-service points.

He talked about the beat cop being the ultimate model of law enforcement, and joined NHUAC in paying tribute to the late Deputy Steve Cox, who was killed eight years ago. Deputy Cox had exemplified the ideal model of law enforcement, the “beat cop,” noted Sheriff Urquhart.

Two members of his force who focus on specific beats spoke next – Joe Winters, who is lead deputy on park patrol, and new White Center storefront Deputy Julian Chivington, who talked about crime stats, including an increase in residential burglary:

One more note – NHUAC members are working on getting a memorial in Lakewood Park in honor of Dick Thurnau, who lived nearby and devoted so many years to advocating for the park’s beleaguered Hicklin Lake. They are even talking to local legislators to see if there’s a chance the park could be renamed in his honor.

Watch the NHUAC website for word of the council’s next meeting and other information between meetings.

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After unsuccessful bond vote, Highline Public Schools wants your thoughts on what to do next

December 8th, 2014 at 10:44 pm Posted in Highline School District, White Center news | 1 Comment »

The bond vote failed. So now what? Highline Public Schools wants to hear from you. Its announcement includes a few options – see the links within (note the deadline TOMORROW AFTERNOON to sign up for the “telephone town hall”):

Highline Public Schools is asking all families, staff, and community members to participate in an online survey and a live Telephone Town Hall meeting about the recent bond proposal, which garnered 59.3 percent of the vote but failed to reach the supermajority needed to pass.

Highline is gathering community input as district leaders determine when to run another bond measure and what, if any, changes should be made to the bond package.
Highline faces critical challenges after last month’s bond measure fell just short of the 60 percent approval required for passage. The need to replace aging schools and to address overcrowding and growing enrollment is still urgent.

“In our state, school construction and repairs are funded by local bonds, so the only way to solve these two challenges is to pass a bond measure,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “We need to hear from the community and come to a solution that is in the best interest of all of our students.”

All are invited to register for a live Telephone Town Hall meeting that will be held on Tuesday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. Superintendent Enfield and School Board member Bernie Dorsey will ask for input and answer questions participants have about the urgent need to replace aging schools and build new schools to address overcrowding and growing enrollment.

Participants can register online. The deadline to register for the event is 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9.

Community members are also invited to take a brief online survey. The online survey is easy to access and is a convenient way to share input and ideas. Families and community members who have provided the district with their email addresses will receive email invitations to participate.

The survey is also accessible for all via the YourVoice section of Highline’s website. The survey is confidential and secure. Survey results will not be tied to individual participants. Once the survey has closed on January 1, Highline will share results with the community.

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Update: Power outage over in parts of White Center and beyond

December 6th, 2014 at 11:16 am Posted in utilities, White Center news | No Comments »

11:16 AM: Major parts of North Highline are caught up in another widespread power outage – more than 9,000 homes and businesses in all, according to Seattle City Light, which is currently projecting restoration around mid-afternoon. See the latest map of the outage locations here. (Screen grab above was taken from that same page just before 11 am.)

11:58 AM: Per City Light, everyone’s back on. (If you’re not, please let them know!)

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Seattle annexation of White Center? City Council bringing it up again

December 5th, 2014 at 4:42 pm Posted in Annexation, White Center news | 5 Comments »

Just spotted on the Seattle City Council’s Introduction/Referral Calendar – a proposal to ask White Center and the rest of unincorporated North Highline to vote on annexation. Documents accompanying the resolution say that it’s not likely the vote could be held before 2016, because of the Boundary Review Board process that would have to lead up to it. No date set yet for this to come before the council. Since posting the first short item on our partner site West Seattle Blog, we’ve learned that the discussion started in the council’s Education/Governance Committee two days ago, as detailed in this memo by a council staffer. It is time-sensitive – unless Seattle takes a step like this before the end of the year, the state tax credit that’s been in place several years as an annexation incentive will expire. More to come …

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No more burn ban in King County, for now

December 2nd, 2014 at 1:40 pm Posted in Environment, Health, White Center news | Comments Off

In case you were hoping to use your fireplace or woodstove sometime soon – it’s now OK again. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has lifted the King County burn ban as of this afternoon – no current restrictions.

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Famous fundraiser tonight: Baked Potato Dinner

December 2nd, 2014 at 12:24 pm Posted in White Center news | Comments Off

It’s “Giving Tuesday” and this is the perfect way to give – help local students AND have a great dinner. All details on the flyer above – thanks to Uncle Mike’s BBQ for sharing it on Facebook so we could in turn share the details here.

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Update: Hit-run crash injures woman, closes westbound Roxbury at 15th

November 30th, 2014 at 6:36 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | Comments Off

(WCN photo by Patrick Sand)
6:36 PM: Westbound Roxbury is closed between 15th and 16th SW (map) while Seattle Police investigate a hit-run crash that sent a woman to the hospital. Police told us at the scene that she was in the crosswalk when hit by what witnesses described as a blue SUV. We don’t yet know her condition. The road will be closed for a while; SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad has been called in. If you have any information about this crash, please call 911.

MONDAY MORNING, 10:48 AM: No word yet from Seattle Police on whether they have found the hit-run driver. We asked Seattle Fire for more information on the victim; they say she is 35 years old and was in stable condition when taken to the hospital, where she was expected to be checked for possible internal injuries.

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Dog lost in White Center – FOUND

November 30th, 2014 at 1:25 pm Posted in Pets, White Center news | 1 Comment »

(Update – FOUND!)

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White Center Weather Watch: Burn ban; snow view

November 30th, 2014 at 12:02 pm Posted in Weather, White Center news | Comments Off

BURN BAN: As of 1 pm today (Sunday), a Stage 1 Burn Ban will be in effect for all of King County. That means no fireplace/woodstove use unless you are certified as having no other “adequate source of heat,” and no outdoor fires. This will be in effect, says the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, until further notice.

SNOW VIEW: Belated thanks to Gill for sharing this view of snowy White Center on Saturday:

No more snow in the forecast – but below-freezing temps are hanging around!

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Happy Thanksgiving! Where to get coffee today

November 27th, 2014 at 4:22 am Posted in Beverages, Holidays, White Center news | Comments Off

Two White Center coffee shops have announced they’re open this morning – Caffe Delia downtown, and Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge. 8 am-noon for both, so wherever you are, you can get local coffee to go with your Thanksgiving breakfast.

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Next North Highline UAC meeting: The sheriff & the deputies

November 26th, 2014 at 4:41 am Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news | Comments Off

One week from tomorrow, North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s December meeting will feature Sheriff John Urquhart (raincheck from last meeting) and Deputies Julian Chivington (new storefront deputy) and Joe Winters (who patrols parks). Here’s the official agenda, from president Barbara Dobkin:

7:00 pm Call to Order – Flag Salute – Roll Call – Approval of Agenda – Approval of Minutes

7:05 pm Public Announcements
7:10 pm Public Comment

King County Sheriff’s Office
7:20 pm Sheriff John Urquhart
7:50 pm Deputy Julian Chivington – White Center Storefront Deputy
8:00 pm Deputy Joe Winters – South End Park Patrol

8:10pm Pat Price and Liz Giba – Discussion regarding Lakewood Park

8:20 pm Bong StoDomingo – King County Community Service Area Liaison – Update on Graffiti in North Highline

8:30 pm Committee Reports

The meeting will be at 7 pm Thursday, December 4th, at the North Highline Fire District HQ, 1243 SW 112th.

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White Center biznote: Equipment woes at Zippy’s

November 25th, 2014 at 6:49 am Posted in restaurants, White Center news | Comments Off

Zippy’s Giant Burgers in White Center had to close early Monday, according to its Facebook page, after a key part in its hood broke – and it’s still scrambling for a replacement. So they’re not sure when they’ll reopen. We’ll keep an eye out for an update.

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White Center Crime Watch: Burglar sought; car stolen

November 24th, 2014 at 1:40 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | 2 Comments »

Two notes today – first, King County Sheriff’s Office is circulating surveillance photos of a burglar:


Also this afternoon – a reader report: Veronica hopes you can help her find her stolen car, and what was inside it:

It was stolen this past Saturday November 22 from Coronado Springs Apartments in White Center around 6-7pm. It is a dark green 1996 Honda Accord, 4 door, plate # AOE7527. It has chipped paint and a Seahawks logo on the back window. Please, I am so stressed over this. It had my daughter’s seat, stroller, personal portraits and just so much sentimental value.

Call 911 if you see it.

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White Center Food Bank: Can you bring in a turkey today?

November 22nd, 2014 at 9:49 am Posted in White Center Food Bank, White Center news | Comments Off

Can you spare a turkey or two? Maybe some stuffing too? The White Center Food Bank needs that (and more) and is open special hours today for pre-holiday donations, 11 am-2 pm, 10829 8th SW. Our partner site West Seattle Blog has more on how to help WCFB (which has a regional client base beyond WC).

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White Center holidays: McLendon trees due today soon

November 20th, 2014 at 7:47 am Posted in Holidays, White Center news | Comments Off

7:47 AM: If you just can’t wait to get your tree up for the holidays – even with Thanksgiving still a week away – McLendon Hardware tells us they’re expecting their first delivery today. According to manager Matt, “We will be carrying Douglas Fir, Grand Fir, Noble Fir, and Nordmann Firs all of various sizes ranging from 2 ft. to as tall as 9 ft. New additions to our selection this year include a 5-6 ft. sheared Douglas Fir, and a 5-7 ft. Natural (un-sheared) Noble Fir.” The store’s at 10210 16th SW.

11 AM UPDATE: Matt now tells us they’ve had a delay and the trees are expected on November 24th – next Monday.

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Stage 2 burn ban in effect for King County

November 19th, 2014 at 12:27 pm Posted in Environment, Health, White Center news | Comments Off

Until 6 am tomorrow, no fireplace or woodstove use unless it’s your main source of heat – a Stage 2 Burn Ban just took effect at noon. Details here.

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